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I Am Legend

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  53,996 Ratings  ·  3,295 Reviews
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Gollancz (first published 1954)
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Tim The book plotline is so different from the movie, I didn't really have a hard time with it. I assumed he looked like Will Smith in my head till…moreThe book plotline is so different from the movie, I didn't really have a hard time with it. I assumed he looked like Will Smith in my head till Matheson gave a description, and then the description seemed to make more sense with the book character's life and personality. (less)

Community Reviews

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May 24, 2012 Nataliya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I am legend". These words make me shudder. But if you have only seen that Will Smith movie that went 180 degrees on the book's message, the soul-crushing impact of these words will be lost on you.
That makes me sad...

To quote Stephen King, "I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson."
This was enough of a recommendation for me to go and dig up this book. And it's great.
(view spoiler)
Aug 18, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

I was going to rate the book a lukewarm 3 stars, but then I looked once more at the date of publication (1954) and reconsidered. A bit of historical perspective, of literary context elevates this novel to the well deserved 'genre classic' status. At the time Matheson published his science-fiction take on the gothic vampire myth, the market was a lot different from today's oversaturated landscape that has largely trivialized the subject and gave it a curious teenage romance slant. Even bringing i
Nov 17, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this after watching some of the movies based on it. It's truly a chilling book. It's an apocalyptic novel. The vampire plague has destroyed our society. Much of the book focuses on our hero's loneliness. When he finds an uninfected dog, his attempts to befriend it are almost pathetic & truly heart-wrenching. It's well worth reading.

There are 3 movies that I know of that are based on this book.

The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price in the mid 60's. This follows the book
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not much of what you might call a “vampire guy.” By which I mean both that I am not a vampire, or a guy who likes vampires or vampire-themed endeavors. Thus it stands to reason that I never would have read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend had not the wildcard of my book club chosen it as this month’s selection. Frankly, I was a little underwhelmed by the choice. The critical “blurbs” did not help matters along. Dean Koontz said it was the “most riveting vampire novel since Dracula,” which is g ...more
Morgue Anne
May 24, 2012 Morgue Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scifi and Horror Fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: Robert Neville is the last man left alive on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire. Neville spends his days scavenging for food and supplies, and hunting down the undead in their lairs in the ruins of civilisation. At night, he becomes the hunted and barricades himself in his home, waiting and praying for the dawn.

I Am Legend was one of the first, and certainly the most bril
Richard Matheson may be the most underrated genre writer ever. When you look at a list of his books- I Am Legend, Somewhere In Time, Hell House, Duel: Terror Stories, What Dreams May Come- just to name a few, you realize how unique and diverse his talent was.

This novel, I Am Legend, a perfect little bricolage of apocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi, horror, vampire, zombie, is probably his best known work, although I'm partial to Somewhere in Time (Bid Time Return) being such a romantic sentimentalist
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet again, I've been breaking the rules. This time, it wasn't on purpose! But I went into reading I Am Legend knowing the ending, knowing the twist. Years ago, you see, my husband had wanted to talk about the book, probably when the most recent adaptation to movie form had come out, and I am well known for not reading horror, so it wasn't an unreasonable assumption that I would never read this.

So, wrong, in the long run, but it made reading this for the first time a very different experience tha
Aug 17, 2013 Carol. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic apocalypse
Recommended to Carol. by: SciFi and Fantasy Book Club monthly read

There are some excellent reviews out there. I know I was complaining about sqeeing and gifs recently, but I can't help but think a classic book like this could use a little modern reviewing.




I'm a little mixed in my reading reactions to a novella that feels more like a self-conscious allegorical tale than truly innovative storytelling. The short, choppy prose suited the narrator, but gave a more limited ambiance to the setting. Given the protagonist Neville's relatively easy ability in m
Kat  Hooper
Aug 27, 2014 Kat Hooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I don’t like vampire novels much, so I wasn’t planning to read Richard Matheson’s classic vampire story I am Legend which was published in 1954, is also known by the title The Omega Man, and is, of course, the basis for the movie I am Legend.

But then I recently read and was enthralled by two other books by Matheson: The Incredible Shrinking Man and Steel and Other Stories. I realized that The Incredible Shrinking Man wasn’t really so much about a man who w
Sep 18, 2015 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for all of the Will Smith jokes. It's going to be difficult, but I will refrain from including him in this review.

2. Stuff I liked - Matheson does an amazing job in describing the situation Neville has deal with as the only person left in the world. The scariest parts for me where when Matheson deals with themes like isolation and loneliness. That stuff was much more terrifying than the vampires (more on them later). There were entire chapters of
Vane J.
Dec 14, 2015 Vane J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, vampires, 2015

I enjoy being alone. There's some kind of peace in loneliness. I'm never more happy than when I'm by myself. I've said, though, that if the loneliness if forced upon me, it's not so glorious. Robert Neville's situation is similar to this latter one.

In first instance, when I came upon this book, it reminded me of The Last Man by Mary Shelley. In both books, the hero is, or believes to be, the last man on Earth. The rest of humanity had died because of a plague. In TLM it was some cold, and in IA
Truly chilling!! Gave me nightmares and I love to read horror! I can't wait to read more of his works. SOON!!!

Perhaps Stephen King says it best: I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson. Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me.

When reading this book, keep in mind that it was written in 1954... well before the recent zombie and vampire craze...

It is set in a post-Apocalyptic 1976 -- where by a trick of fate Robert Neville is the only living human rem
Mike (the Paladin)
This is another one of those times when there are people who if they could would give this book far more than the allowed 5 while if I were rating it on "enjoyment alone" I'd be looking to give it negative stars. I realize this is one of the "classics" of science fiction (or science fantasy)and I don't care. I read it years ago and while I find the writing in places rates my recognition of it's quality...I don't care for the book.

Like some of Matheson's other works there are some questions that
Nov 11, 2016 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the genre
I AM LEGEND, by Richard Matheson is one of his "longer" stories, that I hadn't previously read. This is a vampire tale, but one very unique to this genre. The last survivor in a plague that left humanity dead--or, undead--Richard Neville has spent the past three years learning everything he can about what caused this change. Many are the days when he wonders why he even bothers to go on, when everyone around him is "lost".

". . . In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wil
Dirk Grobbelaar
May 25, 2012 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, wife-books
A novel that has been both heavily criticized and revered, I Am Legend straddles an uneasy line between Horror and Science Fiction. However, there is no denying its influence, nor its simple charm. In comparison with some of the 'vampire' drivel being served up today, this little novel is indeed legend. It ranks with Salem's Lot as one of my favourite reads on the vampire mythos. I know that the science isn't sound, but Matheson has done a terrific job of introducing new ways to broach the subje ...more
I never would have expected the internal dialogue of the last man alive to be as captivating as this book was. Robert Neville is alone, the last uninfected human left as far as he knows, and every day is a struggle to keep it that way. His anger, depression, frustration and fear are thrown up against the desire to live almost every moment of every day and there are some when you're not sure which will win.

Some of the issues brought up are unique to the fact that Robert Neville is a man alone in
Sep 14, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Εκπληκτικό βιβλίο που έγινε μια επίσης εξαιρετική ταινία με το Will Smith. Εγώ πρώτα είχα δει την ταινία, αλλά - φυσικά - το βιβλίο είναι καλύτερο. Όχι μόνο γιατί γενικά τα βιβλία έχουν περισσότερες εικόνες από τις ταινίες και διεγείρουν τη φαντασία περισσότερο, αλλά και κάποιες μικρές διαφορές για μένα αναδείκνυαν περισσότερο κάποια συναισθήματα έναντι άλλων. Για παράδειγμα: Ο Will Smith (συγχωρήστε μου ότι ξεχνάω το όνομα του χαρακτήρα, πάνε χρόνια που διάβασα το βιβλίο, αφήστε που λόγω της τα ...more
Aug 23, 2013 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading a modern classic for the first time, one which has been adapted into a number of movies and to a certain extent has entered the culture, is a fine way to set oneself up for disappointment. How can it possibly match its reputation? How can it live up to the reader’s preconceptions? How can it meet expectations?

I’m pleased to say that Richard Matheson’s ‘I am Legend’ is a fantastic read which more than deserves its good name.

Despite the various adaptations making the monsters more zombie-l
May 24, 2012 Bel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Four fifths of the way through and the only thing on my mind was how incredibly boring and one-dimensional Robert Neville is. You would think that someone forced into solitude and surrounded by death and insanity would have a wonderfully colourful and twisted mind - if you're going to have a book revolving around a single character, make him a really good one. So, it wasn't until he began chasing, abusing and kidnapping a woman in the name of science (everything in this book was tunnel-viewed 'i ...more
Wendy Darling
Terrific. Loved the first half of the book, a little less engaged by the second, overly "sciency" half, when story took a back seat to explanation.

The Blackstone Audiobooks version read by Robertson Dean is very engaging, by the way. I'm so horribly picky about narrators (It's not an exaggeration to say that I probably give up on roughly 90% of the audiobooks I try), but I loved this actor's voice and passionately measured reading style. And I am immensely fond of the rich, flavorful way that he
May 24, 2012 Apokripos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classic horror olvers
Recommended to Apokripos by: Stephen King
I am Legend by Richard Matheson (A Book Review)

After reading this masterpiece by Richard Matheson, I was overtaken by a great feeling of regret; regret that I had to wait for so long just to sink my (fanged) teeth into this magnificent post-apocalyptic vampire story; regret that I saw the recent movie adaptation of the same title first before reading it. But then again the movie is a good one, in itself.

If you haven’t heard of nor made aware of this book’s existence, then most likely you’ve see
Daniel Bastian
Aug 12, 2015 Daniel Bastian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"There were no psychiatrists left to murmur of groundless neuroses and auditory hallucinations. The last man in the world was irretrievably stuck with his delusions."

That moment you realize how sharply the film deviates from the source material...

After a repeat viewing of Francis Lawrence's 2007 remake with Will Smith, I think I can understand why. Richard Matheson's sci-fi-horror elixir probably wasn't a guaranteed sell for viewers drugged on action flicks and bowtie endings. Granted, there ha
Katy Mann
Jan 03, 2016 Katy Mann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book a few years ago and finished it as part of the Horror Aficionados 2016 Reading Challenge.

When I started the book, I didn’t know it was published in 1954. After finishing, I dug around a little to find out more about it. Stephen King, George Romero and others have called it influential on their thinking and work.

The writing had a spare, modern feel.

The book tells the story of Robert Neville, who is living in isolation in Los Angeles after an apocalyptic event has wiped out
Horace Derwent
Jul 10, 2016 Horace Derwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best vampire novel since Dracula, my point

A man negotiates with himself and never compromises

A man fights against the whole world, what makes him yonder survival

A man tries to save all but just forgets to save himself

Not "forget" maybe, he's just too busy to live and then he loses it and gets lost, that's worse than death

Such a great and encourageous book, no wonder Stephen King loves it this much, it makes him go banana!
My first Horror book, I Am Legend, and I didn't even find it scary!

 photo tumblr_m2sh3pLFty1qbg4doo2_500_zpssd0okoj1.gif

This book is more like an account of a person living alone, surrounded by vampires. I have read many other vampire books, and I never find that horrifying element in them. Putting this book under Horror Shelf is not appropriate, I think, as it is more like a work in psychology.

I read this book because I was looking for a Horror Book, my first Horror Book, and this book was listed under 'World's Scariest Books' list, so I picked
Quentin Wallace
Oct 28, 2014 Quentin Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A true horror classic. I don't think any of the movie adaptations have truly captured the essence of the book (but I have enjoyed them as well.)The book is a bit of a character study as well as a great horror novel. It's basically considered a vampire story, but as you can see form the various movies, it has been open to interpretation.

The lone human vs. hordes of monsters usually does make a good story, but it can also be cliche, especially with zombies getting so popular lately. When this book
Hugo Marroquín
Oct 22, 2015 Hugo Marroquín rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tomé este libro pensando en la película de Will Smith, que por cierto me gustó mucho. Pero este libro cuenta una historia que requiere imaginación para encontrar similitudes con la película. Así que, no hay punto de comparación y hay que abordar a este libro como una historia única y sin referente en el cine. Y es una gran historia. Me llevó a pensar sobre eso que mueve nuestra vida, sobre las tristezas o nostalgias que parecen ablandarse con los años y de repente cobran vida como si fuera ayer. ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Odlična knjiga. 10 puta bolja od filma i sa krajem koji ima smisla i zbog čega je postao legenda :)

Knjiga se bavi idejom da je zemlju prekrila pošast vampirizma i prati Nevila u pokušaju da preživi i razume svoj novi svet. Bilo šta višpe reći će samo da kvari čitanje tako da ćutim.

Preporuka za čitanje i ako ste gledali film ne brinite knjiga je daleko bolja.
Muy buen libro, con una atmósfera muy bien construida, tanto así que se traspasa al lector la agonía del protagonista. Pero me hubiera gustado más desarrollo de la historia, creo que había mucho material para ello y por eso le dejo solo 3 estrellas.
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more
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“Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.” 197 likes
“In a world of monotonous horror
there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.”
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